Keeping an Eye on Supply Chain Trends in 2020

Keeping an Eye on Supply Chain Trends in 2020

February 6, 2020

The growth of online shopping has exerted new pressures on supply chain managers.  The outlook in 2020 is the increased application of technology to achieve faster and smarter performance in the supply chain.  This must be accomplished without raising costs or reducing variety and, at the same time, address the growing pressure for greener methods.


Video Spotlight: The Future of Supply Chain


This post is based on the Supply Chain Brief article, Top Five Supply Chain Trends to Watch in 2020, by Joe Harris, January 7, 2020; the Fortune article and video, Delivery Is Getting More Complex, but Will Soon Be Faster and Cheaper, by Hamid Moghadam, September 1, 2017; and the YouTube video, The Future of Supply Chain, by KPMG US, August 22, 2019. Image source: Design Pics / Kelly Redinger.

Discussion Questions:

1. What role will technology play in the years ahead, in improving supply chain performance?

Guidance: Technology will play multiple roles, including automating warehouse functions, artificial intelligence for warehouse planning and design, developing pre-fill order solutions to accelerate delivery, and designing packaging for material reduction, reuse and/or recyclability.

2. What consumer expectations are driving these changes in supply chain Continue reading

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Microsoft’s Carbon Footprint Rewind

Microsoft’s Carbon Footprint Rewind

February 3, 2020

Microsoft plans to become “carbon negative” by 2030 by using both natural and technological solutions.

The company recently shared a big picture view of its commitment to sustainability efforts. Microsoft plans to reach zero emissions across its entire supply chain.  The global network of data centers operated by Microsoft will be operated in the future by renewable energy.


Video Spotlight:


This post is based on the CBS News article, Microsoft plans to erase its entire carbon footprint since 1975 founding, by Irina Ivanova, January 16, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Video Spotlight above. Image source: Shutterstock / Toa55.

Discussion Questions:

1. How can Microsoft force supply chain partners to be carbon free?  Will this be possible by 2030? Why or why not?

Guidance: Students should perform a quick internet search related to these questions.  Answers will vary, but consider the need for electric vehicles as one stumbling block at this time.  Carbon free means trucking will have Continue reading

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Ford Uses Coffee for Car Parts

Ford Uses Coffee for Car Parts

January 4, 2020

McDonald’s and Ford have joined together to make car parts from coffee chaff.

Using a new method, Ford Motor Company is producing a headlight lens for the Lincoln Continental from a plastic that incorporates coffee chaff.  Ford plans to add additional parts made from the coffee chaff, including Mustang parts.

Both Ford and McDonald’s are very interested in environmental sustainability.  Specifically, Ford uses the coffee chaff from McDonald’s and combines it with plastic and other additives to create pellets that can be formed into a number of car parts.  The coffee chaff from McDonald’s is typically thrown away or burned.  By working together, the two companies take what is normally a waste product in one industry and put it to use in another.


Video Spotlight: Ford and McDonald’s: Executives In Cars Talking Coffee | Ford and the Environment | FORD


This post is based on the Fox Business article, Ford, McDonald’s Team Up to Turn Coffee Byproducts into Car Parts, by Daniella Genovese, December 4, 2019, and the YouTube video, Ford and McDonald’s: Executives In Cars Talking Coffee | Ford and the Environment | FORD, by Ford, December 4, 2019. Image source: Getty Images/Hemera Continue reading

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